Friday, September 5, 2008

Shower poofs

Dr Awesome,

Can a man use a shower poof, or "luffa" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luffa)? Although I feel these should remain in the domain of women, a friend of mine recently bought one while we were at Wal-Mart. While we ridiculed him mercilessly, he insisted that the benefits outweighed the stigma against them. What is your opinion on the matter? If they should not be used by men, is this cause for a dudefrontation?

-Matt

Matt,

Lots of shower-type questions coming in these days. I suppose that's a good thing...after all, most men shower first thing in the morning, and you want to start your day off right. If you begin the day on a womanly note, perhaps by running some Herbal Essence through your hair and rubbing moisturizing lotion into your dry skin, you will probably end your day watching DVR'd episodes of Days of Our Lives while perusing the latest US Weekly. So putting your best foot forward is hugely important, lest the next foot you put forward be at the pedicure salon. Now, regarding the luffa...

You know what they say about how a man's true character is what he does when no one is looking? Well the same thing applies with one's manliness and a closed shower curtain. What you do behind that sheer sheet of vinyl tells all about your testosterone levels. You are standing there, completely nude, on a slippery surface, so you are already in a very vulnerable position. You're telling me that a poofy wad of poofery that you have to go into the women's section at Walmart to purchase is an acceptable option here? Umm, negator. It is important to be clean and to give off an aroma that says "swagger" and not "I am unable to wipe properly." But you must not compromise yourself in achieving this cleanly goal. For a man's tool of choice to cleanse himself from leftover grease residue from working under the hood or specs of manure and blood from wrangling 1000lb bulls, I can think of three options. I will share them with you so that you can try and rescue your friend from the sisterhood of the traveling luffas.

First option, bare hands. This is by far the best option...just you, the soap, and a vigorous scrub. Start with your face and work your way down, using gravity as an aide. This is the solution I use most often, because it is so practical. Think, you're in the wilderness, and you need to wash up. Packing a bar of soap is acceptable...marching to the river with a backpack full of products is not. If a bear comes upon you having a luffa party, he's going to kill you before any baby boy bears can see you and start questioning their own bear manhood. That's how serious this is, even the animal kingdom will view you with scorn. Please, lose the luffa, and use a bar of soap. Our furry friends will thank you.

But I recognize that a bar of soap alone doesn't do the trick sometimes. Perhaps the grease and grime is very persistent, requiring more scrubbing that your bare hands can do. In this instance, break out the washrag. Not a frilly washcloth, not a poof of waded pink plastic...a washrag. Something that perhaps once was a normal decent-looking piece of fabric, but has since devolved into a loose collection of rag molecules held together by tradition and sheer force of will. These raggedy rags of ragliness are guaranteed to do the jobs that your bare hands won't quite do. Keep using it until one day you put it in the washing machine, and it magically disappears, evaporating away to rag heaven. Then you may find a fresh rag, and begin the process anew. It's the circle of life, which is what that Lion King movie was about I think. I don't know, I never saw it.

Option three comes into play when you have disgustitude on a part of your back that soap and rags alone won't reach. Not all of us can dislocate our shoulders to hit every spot on our back, so there needs to be something else. In these cases, you may use a brush on a stick. We've all seen those western movies, where the grizzled cowboy is sitting in a tub of suds scrubbing his back with a brush on a stick, right before Lou Diamond Phillips shows up to shoot him. That's pretty manly, and is definitely a solution to the back problem. Like I said, you're pretty vulnerable when you are standing there, so having something handy that could be used to fend off an attacker is just bonus. I guess another option would be to have someone else scrub that unreachable part of your back, but if you are in a group shower where people are bathing each other, you have bigger problems than just the luffa.

So Matt, those are the options. I definitely think this is something worth dudefronting over. The fact that he brazenly bought a luffa in front of you makes me have serious concerns for your friend. It wouldn't surprise me at all if you went to his apartment and found stuffed animals on his bed. He said the benefits outweigh the stigma...he probably thinks the benefit of having a cuddly bedtime pal outweighs that stigma too. Your friend has embarked on a very dark path, showering with luffas and teddy bears. Rescue him if you can, shun him if you must. And whatever you do, keep him in front of you, lest he try to sneak behind you to luffa your back.

Dr. Awesome

19 comments:

Lindsay September 5, 2008 at 10:13 PM  

Joey says to let you know that he completely agrees with the post and that he despises loofas.

Stormbringer September 6, 2008 at 6:49 AM  

Sorry, guys, dead wrong on this one. I used to use the manly-scented shower gel on the bare hands approach, but that just doesn't do it. Now, I'm not sure what a loofa is, but I use a scrubbing thing made out of nylon (looks like a crumpled ball), and it helps the scrubbing, and I feel ten times cleaner than with gel and bare hands.

And I'm confident enough in my masculinity that I don't give a rat's tail what anyone thinks of such a thing, I use it for practical reasons and won't let myself get swayed by the opinions of others. The man in your story that bought the loofa was obviously self-confident enough to do what he thought was necessary, and did not cave in to the pressure of friends (such as they were). These friends are the ones that showed lack of self-confidence themselves because they heaped ridicule on him.

Ad├ín September 6, 2008 at 10:49 AM  

I think I have one exception. If you can find a wild loofa plant growing somewhere, probably an abandoned building with crumbling brick and mortar, and cut it off the vine with your own pocket knife. I think that the manliness of the process would entitle the bearer to use it. Right?

Jeff September 6, 2008 at 3:03 PM  

Here's a shorter take on the use of shower poofs by men (I cringe just to type that):

http://www.thecivilizedlife.com/2008/08/27/man-note-1/

Eric Stephens September 6, 2008 at 3:28 PM  

No way no way. Somethings are just too feminine to touch my body. Its like my wife and her girlfriend trying to convince me to get a pedicure. OK, but if there is scotch, cigars, or other manly stuff to compensate then I think about it.

Shape the loofa like a wash cloth and then we'll talk.

:-)

Anonymous September 6, 2008 at 9:34 PM  

I appreciate reading of the "art of manliness" when it's positively applied to topics like child rearing or shaving, but this post just comes off as insecure and stereotyping of "real men" as lumbering Neanderthals too macho to embrace adequate personal hygiene.

Please.

Shower luffas are specifically designed to exfoliate the skin while rinsing clean and avoiding manky, smelly shower residue (unlike washrags). It's very functional and healthy, and makes far more sense than the article's asinine advice of scrubbing with bare hands (uh, skin on skin? right - no exfoliation) or bar soap (wet + dirty surface = breeding ground for bacteria).

A "real" man could take a bubble bath in a pink nighty and not bat an eye at all the self-conscious wanks too insecure in their own masculinity to handle it.

Anonymous September 6, 2008 at 9:56 PM  

I'm going to dissent here. I discovered "poofs" while in the Marine Corps. I have continued to use them in the deserts of the Levant and while trekking through Patagonia.

I'm going to agree with Stormbringer.

Drew September 6, 2008 at 10:11 PM  

What about something like the Axe Detailer? Part loofah, part brillo pad...

wild bill September 7, 2008 at 6:23 AM  

Hey anonymous! Exfoliate is a word not found in a heterosexual conversation. Besides "A "real" man could take a bubble bath in a pink nighty and not bat an eye at all the self-conscious wanks too insecure in their own masculinity to handle it." That statement is just homosexual.

Marine corps anonymous, you are granted a hall pass to do whatever you want since you have put foot to a$$ in the military. I just hope your "poof" is camoflauge.

Proteus September 7, 2008 at 11:22 AM  

I too, use a "poof" AND a natural-bristle scrub brush. And I say to anyone that if you allow others to dictate lower standards of cleanliness to you, we'll then you probably deserve to be dirty!

Seriously, evolution took care of exfoliation pretty well with dirt, mud, rocks, and rough fur clothing. But the sad fact is, most of us are not living in that environment anymore. So, every once in a while, I'm scrubbing myself raw with a loofa.

chuck norris September 7, 2008 at 3:16 PM  

Poofs are for girls, and guys I roundhouse kick. I use a porcupine, you bunch of pansies!

matthew September 7, 2008 at 7:49 PM  

You don't need to go to the "womens" section to get a poof. They can be found hanging in the soap section of most stores.

And I agree with stormbringer, what defines manliness is not what you do, but the purpose and method of that doing.

I use poofs infrequently because they allow saving money by extending the use of any given amount of soap, which when applied to the hands, mostly runs off down the drain.

Further, Anonymous did indeed commit cardinal sins in his argument by use of the word "exfoliate". See the case of Mel Gibson, an otherwise unimpeachably manly man, in "What women want", where he was trying on hose and "exfoliating" in his bathroom.

And so I will continue my manliness by considering this post to be nearly entirely jocular in intent as well as content and continue to do things the way I see best to do them.

matthew September 7, 2008 at 7:51 PM  

Oh, and if you read the wikipedia article on lufa's, you will see it's a coarse scrubber, not some soft nylon poof.

In the standard dictionary of manly synonyms: coarse = manly.

I'm switching to a loofah.

wild bill September 8, 2008 at 7:12 AM  

"what defines manliness is not what you do, but the purpose and method of that doing." Stormbringer and Matthew, you are both dead wrong. Your actions dictate your purpose. You may say that there is nothing wrong with showering with other men because it is male bonding, but in reality you enjoy looking at naked men. No matter what your purpose, men just don't do certain things.

Anonymous September 8, 2008 at 7:51 AM  

But, Dr. Awesome, you need to consider that loofas are painful. It's like rubbing a metal rasp on your skin except without the bleeding. What's cooler than that?

That said, I would never use a loofa. It requires too much planning. I use sandpaper, and "Tide," both of which I already have around the house, and each of which can take the skin off a rhino.

davedorm67 September 9, 2008 at 9:36 AM  

OK, I must say that "exfoliate" can be used in a heterosexual conversation.

I shave my head, an act that is distinctly manly. I use manly products from the HeadBlade company. Stuff endorsed by mixed martial arts fighters that can kick my ass if I do not use them.

Now, I did not start shaving my head because I had a receding hairline. I shaved because I had nasty, nappy hair. Crap like psoriasis, dandruff, crud on the scalp, etc.

I shaved the dome and took a week "exfoliating" my head with abrasive scrubs and products. It was blotchy, red, sore, and ugly.

But now? Smooth, clean, and frakking flake free. And, twice a week, I use the "Head Shed" product from HeadBlade to keep the dead crap off the cranium. I am cleaner, have more healthy skin, and look damned good doing it.

Yeah, I exfoliate.

Scott September 10, 2008 at 7:39 AM  

"if you are in a group shower where people are bathing each other, you have bigger problems than just the luffa"

I often have someone else scrub my back in the shower. She's good at it.

The Common Man September 10, 2008 at 9:47 PM  

Just so we're clear, those raggedy rags don't disappear. Wives are throwing them out when they go through the laundry.

Anonymous October 25, 2008 at 12:17 PM  

I think the manliest way to bathe, is to only bathe once a week. With soap that's made from the fat of a wild hog that you have personally killed with a rock. And red devil lye. You should only wash in a creek or a river. None of this sissy hot water mess will do. This is the manliest batheing technique known to man. Loofa's, hot water and store bought soap are not acceptable for manly baths.

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